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Powerful Villain falls for lead character manga recs

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Post #780126
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9:17 am, Sep 9 2020
Posts: 3


Hello everybody!

I have quite a choosy request here. I am looking for manga within the usual enemies-to-lovers trope, but falling into a specific sub-trope. Namely, I am looking for a manga with a powerful villain/antagonist who becomes obsessed with a seemingly less-powerful protagonist, and tries to do everything to "enslave" and or break him/her. The important thing is that there is an external power imbalance between the pair but they are equals in terms of intelligence, willpower and other internal factors.

The reason why I love these pairings is that they give wonderful opportunities for cat-and-mouse games and prove that even with greater resources, the more materially powerful character can't really break a mentally and spiritually strong person. Typical example is that one character is a aristocratic type like a ruler/king/president, and the other character a working type, like an agent/policeman/lawyer or whatever. Often they are on opposite sides of the ideological scales. Also, very important, this HAS TO BE A SLOW BURN! This scenario will not work if they have an insta-love moment. This has to be a long, arduous battle fought over every patch of the land with passion and intense emotions. Swoon!

EXAPLES:
- Threads of time - Set during the golden years of the Golden Horde. Sali Tayi, a fearsome, powerful warlord, and Atan Hadas, a brave female warrior. Interesting stuff!
- Jewels - Gender bender, the lead is boy who can turn into a girl (called Lapis Lazuli). He is from a poor family but with special powers. The villain, Diamon, is a powerful ruler who lusts after his female form and wants her all for himself. Visually stunning.
- Finder series - Great example! Akihito is a plucky photographer who becomes the point of intense obsession for a powerful crime lord, Asami Ryuichi. Ryuichi de fact rules Tokyo and has his hands everywhere, so Akihito is up to a large challenge trying to remain true to himself while Asami tries to rule over both his body and soul
- Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang - Top example, FL is a brilliant strategist that becomes a housemaid and the ML is a prince and powerful general very much beloved in his land. Sadly the manga was discontinued way too early, the novel it was based on was exactly what I was looking for (and remains one of my favorites!)

Notice the use of the word powerful :-) I go for all pairings, M/M, F/F, anything.

What I am not interested in:
- Anything teen/high-school (I want mature stuff)
- Run-of-the-mill enemies to lovers where they fall in love too soon
- Opposite example - powerful protagonist and less powerful antagonist
- A villain who is not a real villain but a misunderstood good guy
- Doormat/boring leading character with little to no personality
- Large scale mangas with thousands of characters where the romance is just a very minor sub plot. Good example is Princess, where we have such a relationship (Lala and Skadei), but there is too much other stuff going on so no-go

If anyone has anything similar, please give your suggestions! Thank you very much in advance!


Last edited by StellaStar1 at 9:23 am, Sep 9

Post #780132
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6:13 pm, Sep 9 2020
Posts: 658


Are you only interested in manga? Since the webnovel Thousand Autumns basically ticks all your boxes. The MC at the beginning of the story has had his cultivation destroyed through betrayal, and he goes through some lengths to recover from the physical and mental damage from it, all the while the ML fucks with him just for kicks.

Otherwise, since I'm sure others will mention it, Basara fits relatively well (though you might've read it already). The love probably comes a bit too quickly for your tastes but...

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
After she learns his true identity, she basically repudiates him for the latter half of the manga, while he struggles to become Not a Complete Shit of a person.


Post #780145
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8:32 am, Sep 10 2020
Posts: 3


Hi Suxinn!

Thank you very much for the webnovel suggestion, I love reading those so I will definitely give it a go!

As you astutely noted, I have already read Basara a long time ago (since it fits into the trope I am looking for quite squarely), and I have to admit that I didn't particularly like it. I didn't fancy the art and the characters did nothing for me, but this is a purely personal outlook, since there is no denying it is a minor masterpiece of the genre and overall a quality product.

Thanks once again!

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